Dedicated to Nigeria's socio-political issues
October 3, 2007 - December 2, 2007
Assessing States and Universities in Nigeria - Beauty in the Eyes of the Beholder
Mobolaji E. Aluko, Ph.D.
Monday, March 18, 2002
As a teacher, I hear this kind of statement all the time from students: “I got an A in Chemistry but the teacher gave me an F in English!”. I guess that is what some state governors and university vice-chancellors in Nigeria have been saying in recent days – except that the subject matter is quality of governance and education in their states and universities rather than in Chemistry and in English. This is due to the results of two sets of assessments have made their rounds in Nigeria in recent months which have set tongues wagging:
(i) National Media Tour of state government and governors organized by the National Union of Journalists and the Ministry of Information and National Orientation (Minister: Professor Jerry Gana)
(ii) Quality assurance exercise on universities organized by the National Universities Commissions’ (NUC Executive Secretary: Prof. Peter Okebukola.)
Reading through newspaper excerpts and commentaries of the National Media Tour, and reading through a hard-copy of the NUC report (that I obtained during my recent visit to Nigeria), I have been caused both some pain as well as some rip-roaring laughter.
Let me “assess” each assessment seriatim:
On Tuesday, January 22 , 2002, in a "Salute to Excellence" ceremony at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, the NUJ and NOA (National Orientation Agency) presented the results of their joint National Media Tour to Nigeria. It was a culmination of an assess-the-states-assess-the-governors tour that commenced on June 25, 2001in Edo State and ended November 7, 2001 in Plateau State. It saw hundreds of millions of naira – some say billions - spent in a 30-state tour – or jamboree.
Let Jerry Gana write for himself why this tour was embarked upon:
With the restoration of democracy and good governance, the overriding concern of most Nigerians has come to focus largely on the ideology of development. There is a strong and popular conviction that democracy must not only ensure good governance, it must also produce development, in terms of a profound transformation of the quality of life. In the past, there was so much lip
service paid to issues of development. Now there is a strong emphasis for a practical translation of development plans into concrete projects which would positively touch the lives of the masses.
--- some materials deleted ---
It appears that Prof. Gana sincerely believes – and insists - that we the people MUST be told how our governments are doing - as if we are blind!
Anyway, a capsule of the results is as follows:
(i) Excellence awards in:
(ii) Overall Performance Gold Award -
Abia, Bauchi, Ebonyi, Gombe, Kogi, Rivers, Kano, Edo, Bayelsa and Cross River States
(iii) Overall Performance Award Silver Medal -
Nasarawa, Enugu, Benue, Katsina, Adamawa, FCT, Borno, Anambra, Sokoto, Delta, Kwara, Niger, Kaduna and Kebbi
(iv) Gold Trophy for Excellence in Governance - Rivers State
(v) The Star Award for Democracy - President Olusegun Obasanjo
(vi) States Inspected, but with No Awards at All - Akwa-Ibom, Imo, Jigawa, Plateau, Taraba, Yobe, Zamfara
(vii) States Not Inspected, hence No Awards Due – Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Ekiti and Ondo
Very wisely, it turns out that all the six Alliance for Democracy governors shut their doors FIRMLY to Jerry Gana, a step which some of the other governors have since publicly lamented that they wished they took! “How could you allow a PDP fox into the AD chicken coop? “ the AD governors scoffed in unison. The governor of my own Ekiti state, Niyi Adebayo, quite wily behind his permanent boyish smile, described the whole charade “as the anointing service for second term seeking governors, and a clandestine-way to discrediting and running down the Alliance for Democracy (AD) governors and those who were not in their good books.” After all, an Afenifere delegation – with Professor Bolaji Akinyemi, Chief Cornelius Adebayo and others as members – had earlier on assessed all AD governors, given its own report and was far more discreet in their criticisms were applicable than Jerry’s report.
For example, let us read in particular governor Haruna of Adamawa and then a Yobe-an complaint:
"YOLA, ADAMAWA—AS criticism of the recent National Media Award rages, Gov. Boni Haruna of Adamawa says the event has created problems for many governors……They did not tell us they were coming to the field to assess us and even if they came for such purpose, there are standards, variables and indices, not corruptive and unjustifiable ways of assessment,’’ he said. Haruna said some governors had taken the award philosophically, "particularly some of us who allowed ourselves to be visited, unlike governors in AD-controlled states who shut their doors to everybody because they knew the likely outcome of the media tour". He said AD governors were better off in the circumstance, because nobody was going to use the media award to judge them……
Gov. Bukar Ibrahim of Yobe has questioned the legality of the merit award presented to some state governors at a ceremony to conclude the national media tour on Tuesday in Abuja. Answering questions from newsmen on Wednesday in Damaturu, Ibrahim said that the ceremony: "Salute to Execellence", organised by the Ministry of Information and National Orientation, in conjunction with the NUJ, was "a showmanship of those who have contact with the press". He said he was dismayed with the national media tour team, led by the information minister, Prof. Jerry Gana, for not acknowledging some of his achievements in the agricultural sector. The governor said he would protest the award "since we are in a democratic period and not a military regime". "The judges are the people and the final judge is God; so let's leave it like that," he said.
Ah! Oh well! That inevitable - and desperate - appeal to God!
Finally, there is at least one ministerial colleague of Jerry Gana who was not happy with him: transport minister Ojo Maduekwe. Apparently he was upset that his arch-enemy (?) governor Orji Kalu of Abia State was “given” three medals: Gold each for good governance, sports development and urban road development. How then could he, Maduekwe, unseat Kalu in Abia State if and when he declared for the governorship of their joint state? Let us read the following report:
Media reports have it that a few days later, the transport minister threw caution to the winds at the federal executive council meeting to hit at his colleague, Jerry Gana, for not rigging Kalu out of the awards. A report by a national daily last weekened said Maduekwe alleged that the awards to Kalu were "induced".
Induced ke? Well, that is now Maduekwe’s problem.
Furthermore, it is interesting to note that all of the states that were awarded “Excellence in Education” medals were recently listed as part of the 26 “educationally disadvantaged” in Nigeria and hence in need of preferential treatment. Once can only presume that the “Excellence” was in trying to redress the disadvantage.
Another interesting award: the “Excellence in Crime Control” award given to Anambra State is at worst dubious and at best a testament to effectiveness of the roving Bakassi Boys a.k.a. OPC of Anambra State!
Finally, the howler, a typical Jerry Gana-ian move: kindly repeat the recipient of “Star Award for Democracy”!!! Thank you. That was enough to discredit the entire exercise.
Well, what is one lesson to be learnt here? Since we are tippy-toeing into the re-election season, therefore, according to NUJ and NOA, we might draw the following conclusions:
1. Olusegun Obasanjo CERTAINLY deserves to be re-elected as president.
2. Peter Odili of Rivers State MOST DESERVES re-election as governor of Rivers State for best overall governance. His state was mentioned for SIX awards.
3. Next are governors Mu’azu of Bauchi and Audu of Kogi State, because each state was mentioned SEVEN whole TIMES for awards. Audu sure deserves his 10-month-old $1.7 million house here in Washington DC’s exclusive Potomac! Maybe Odili and Mu’azu are next?
4. Mentioned for four awards – Kaduna’s Makarfi, Ebonyi’s Egwu, Cross-River’s Duke. They certainly deserve re-election.
5. Mentioned for three awards each – Niger’s Kure and Kano’s Kwakwanso. They deserve re-election.
6. Mentioned for two awards each – Sokoto’s Bafawara, Kebbi’s Aliru, Kwara’s Lawal, Gombe’s Hashidu, Bayelsa’s Alamieseyegha, Delta’s Ibori, Anambra’s Mbadinuju and Abia’s Orji Kalu. They may deserve election.
7. Mentioned for one award each – Edo’s Igbinedion, Enugu’s Nnamani, Benue’s Akume, Katsina’s Yar’Adua, Adamawa’s Haruna, Nassarawa’s Adamu and Borno’s Kachalla.
They must try harder between now and election time if they are to deserve re-election.
8. The following 7 governors do not deserve re-election since they received no awards:
Akwa-Ibom’s Obong Atta, Imo’s Udenwa, Jigawa’s Turaki, Plateau’s Dariye, Taraba’s Nyame, Yobe’s Ibrahim and Zamfara’s Sani Yerima.
9. And there was no basis for assessing the following governors since they skipped class:
Lagos’ Tinubu, Ogun’s Osoba, Oyo’s Adesina, Osun’s Akande, Ekiti’s Adebayo and Ondo’s Adefarati.
Another lesson? Be careful of whoever invites himself to tour your state!
In February 2002, the NUC Executive Secretary, Prof. Peter Okebukuola, unveiled a report of a 1999/2000 accreditation exercise of the 36 federal and state universities in the nation. According to Okebukola, the report’s author, the aims of the exercise were noble:
This work presents the ranking of universities according to performance of their academic programmes in the 1999 and 2000 comprehensive accreditation exercise. It is the second time that the National Universities Commission would conduct a comprehensive accreditaton of the first degree programmes at all the Nigerian universities, the first time being 1990 and 1991…..The ranking of the universities according to performance of their academic programmes is a premier exercise in the annals of university education in Nigeria.
The league tables in this document rank the universities according to performance of their individual acdemic programmes, academic disciplines and whole institutional programmes in the 1999 and 2000 accreditation exercise. It is the hope of the Commission that these tables will encourage those who
are at the top of the table in the different disciplines to strive to maintain their lead. It is also our hope that those who have trailed will seek to improve and beat the front-runners. Whereas these league tables, in their present form, are useful indices for comparing academic quality of university programmes, every effort will be made by
the Commission to improve the diversity of the performance indicators utitilzed for this purpose in subsequent exercises.
The overall results are given in Table 1 adapted from the report:
Tsble 1: Results of Ranking Exercise by NUC Based on the Quality of Academic Programmes as Captured during the 1999/20-00 NUC Accreditation Exercise
Overall University Generation Quality Index (Out of 5)
1. University of Agriculture, Abeokuta Third 3.74
2. University of Agriculture, Umudike Third 3.60
3. University of Nigeria, Nsukka First 3.51
4. University of Lagos, Akoka, Lagos First 3.39
5. Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi Third 3.33
5. Fed. University of Technology, Owerri Third 3.33
7. University of Jos, Jos Second 3.30
8. Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka Second 3.23
9. Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna Third 3.20
10. Imo State University, Owerri State 3.19
11. University of Agriculture, Makurdi Third 3.18
12. Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria First 3.14
12. Bayero University, Kano Second 3.14
12. University of Ilorin, Ilorin Second 3.14
15. Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye State 3.11
16. University of Ibadan, Ibadan/1948 First 3.02
17. Fed. University of Technology, Minna Third 3.00
18. University of Ado-Ekiti State 2.93
19. Obafemi Awolowo Univ. (University of Ife), Ile-Ife First 2.93
20. University of Maiduguri, Maiduguri Second 2.89
21. Enugu State University, Enugu State 2.84
22. University of Calabar, Calabar Second 2.76
23. Usmanu Dan Fodio University, Sokoto Second 2.75
24. University of Benin, Benin City First 2.70
25. University of Port Harcourt, PH Second 2.68
26. Abia State University, Uturu State 2.66
27. Lagos State University, Ojo, Lagos State 2.64
27. Fed. University of Technology, Akure Third 2.64
29. Ladoke Akintola University, Ogbomoso State 2.46
30. University of Uyo, Uyo Second 2.43
31. Benue State University, Makurdi State 2.36
32. Federal University of Technology, Yola Third 2.33
33. Delta State University, Abraka State 2.21
34. University of Abuja, Abuja FCT Second 2.21
35. Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma State 2.14
36. Rivers State Univ. of Sc. & Technology, PH State 2.13
Source: “National Universities Commission: Quality Assurance in Nigerian Universities Volume 1 [Ranking of Nigerian Universities According to Performance of their Academic Programmes in the 1999 and 2000 Accreditation Exercise.] Published by the NUC, February 2002.
From Table 1, we will note the following:
Average MAQ Index
The 6 First Generation Federal Universities 3.11
The 10 Second Generation Federal Universities 2.85
The 9 Third Generation Federal Universities 3.15
The 11 State Universities 2.60
All 36 Universities 2.89
First, let me formally object to the notion of a funding agency (here the NUC as an agent of the Federal/state governments) RANKING universities by whatever assessments. The NUC should simply have confined its actions to noting strengths and deficiencies, and granting full or interim ACCREDITATION to various programmes, or denying such. Thus, rankings should have been left to the province of popular journalism. Nevertheless, those ranked high are bound to glory in the ranking, and those ranked low to moan and complain. For example, on a personal note, having just cursorily visited the University of Ado-Ekiti and Obafemi Awolowo University (University of Ife) in the past few days, I am particularly irked that UNAD is ranked above my alma mater, Great Ife. Nevertheless, no matter their flaws, and as Prof. Okebukola has hinted, accreditation reports and rankings such as this one are used by universities not only as a weapon to seek for more funds from benefactors, but also to measure progress when compared with previous reports.
To those extents, the present NUC exercise is a welcome one.
Secondly, from the average MAQ index scores, it appears that while the first-generation federal universities (Ibadan, Lagos, Ife, Nsukka, Ahmadu Bello and Benin) are still struggling to hold their own as a group, they have been collectively outstripped by the 9 third generation federal universities (that is the Universities of Agriculture in Abeokuta, Umudike and Makurdi, the Federal Universities of Technology in Owerri, Minna, Akure and Yola, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University and the Nigeria Defence Academy) who seem to have avoided any mistakes that the 10 second-generation federal universities (Jos, NAU, BUK, Ilorin, Maiduguri, Calabar, UDU, Port Harcourt, Uyo and Abuja) might have made.
Thirdly, the 11 state universities as a group did not fare well at all, with nine of them occupying half of the slots within the bottom positions 18 to 36 of the rankings table! This is further evidence of weakness of our federal structure – states vis-à-vis the federal government.
Let us make one further note: thirty-six universities nationwide mean that we have on average one university per state in Nigeria. With a population of 120 million, a current literacy rate of 57% and a university-age population 18 – 25 of about 20%, that would mean 380,000 university-going citizens per state. If only 40% of these went to university, that would make 152,000 students per state. With student populations roughly as follows:
Ahmadu Bello University ~ 30,000
University of Benin ~ 21,000
University of Calabar ~ 17,000
University of Ibadan ~ 13,000
University of Ilorin ~ 10,000
University of Jos ~ 13,500
University of Lagos ~ 23,000
University of Nigeria, Nsukka ~ 18,000
Obafemi Awolowo University ~ 18,500
University of PH ~ 11,000
we would need to have on average 3 – 5 more universities per state at an average of 30,000 students each – that is after sometimes more than doubling the present size of many of the universities listed above!
Thus, the results of the present accreditation exercise highlights two problems: maintaining the standards of the present set of universities that we have, and obtaining funds to enlarge the student population and increase the number of universities. That is a tough road in light of the following communique:
COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE END OF THE REGULAR MEETING OF COMMITTEE OF VICE-CHANCELLORS OF NIGERIAN FEDERAL UNIVERSITIES HELD ON 18TH OCTOBER, 2001
The Committee of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Federal Universities (CVC) at its regular meeting of 18th October, 2001 reviewed the current problems facing the Nigerian University system.
1. The CVC observed that the university system is in crisis largely due to under-funding. From the beginning of this year, the Universities have received only 40% of what is required to pay salaries monthly. Consequently, Universities have been unable to pay salaries and allowances as and when due. Many universities
have exhausted their reserves and borrowed money from financial institutions in order to sustain payments of emoluments. Moreover, only 30% of year 2001 capital grants had been received by the Universities. The result of this is that many projects are either stalled, abandoned or put on hold.
2. The CVC noted:
(a) The efforts of the Federal Government, the Honourable Minister Education and the Executive Secretary, NUC to bring sanity into the system by entering into agreement with all the
unions in the university system.
3. (a) The CVC however, observed that the financial crisis in the Universities still remains
unsolved as issues such as the payment of Examination Administration Allowance including arrears from January 1999 and shortfalls in the payment of monthly salaries for years 2000 and 200 still remain unsolved.
(b) The CVC further noted with concern the impending crisis within the University system arising from the implementation of the agreement signed between the Federal Government and various workers unions.
4. CVC therefore implores the Federal Government to urgently address the following issues in order to bring stability into
the university system and avert the impending crisis;
(a) Immediate release of shortfalls in payment of emoluments for years 2000 and 2001 (b) Release of 2nd to 4th quarter capital grants for year 2001.
(b) Release of funds to service Examination Administration Allowance owed to non-teaching staff since January 1, 1999.
(c) Take firm action to resolve various issues arising from the implementation of the 2001 agreement with university workers.
It now appears that certain aspects of “non- implementation of the 2001 agreement with university workers” has resulted in a new ASUU industrial action (strike) that begins TODAY! http://www.ngrguardiannews.com/news2/nn851902.html
What a life!
If we were to look only at the state universities rankings – where the state governors are the officially designated VISITORS - we would see that:
Rank University MAQ Index Governor
1. Imo State University, Owerri 3.19 Udenwa
2. Ogun State University, Ago-Iwoye 3.11 Osoba
3. University of Ado-Ekiti, Ado-Ekiti 2.93 Adebayo
4. Enugu State University, Enugu 2.84 Nnamani
5. Abia State University, Uturu 2.66 Kalu
6. Lagos State University, Ago-Iwoye 2.64 Tinubu
7. Ladoke Akintola University, Ogbomoso 2.46 Adesina
8. Benue State University, Makurdi 2.36 Akume
9. Delta State University, Abraka 2.21 Ibori
10. Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma 2.14 Igbinedion
11. Rivers State University of Sci. & Tech, PH 2.13 Odili
Left to this “yours-truly” university professor, any state governor whose state university scored a failing MAQ score – that is below 2.5 out of 5 – should not be re-elected. From this last table above, that “un-reelectables” list of five governors once again includes Udenwa of Imo State, but more ironically, it also includes Peter Odili whose state university (Rivers State University of Sci. & Tech ) was DEAD LAST in the overall ratings, and yet he received the most coveted Gold Trophy for Excellence in Governance during the National Media Tour!
Well, that list of “un-reelectables” is my viewpoint, and I am sticking with it.
Gana Decries AD Governors' Position on Media Tour
This Day October 9, 2001
Afenifere Team on Assessment Tour of AD States
This Day April 12, 2001
ThisDay Ocotober 10, 2001
Vanguard Sunday 14th October, 2001
Guardian, December 10, 2001
Guardian, Friday, January 25, 2002.
Yobe Governor Challenges Legality of Media Tour Merit Award
This Day (Lagos) January 26, 2002
Thrills And Funfair As Media Reward Excellence
Daily Trust (Abuja) January 29, 2002
Media Tour Awards; I'm Not Worried, Says Nnamani
Vanguard (Lagos) February 19, 2002
Tribune, March 5, 2002
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